WASHINGTON One day after the Senate confirmed Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the ongoing fight to get the agency up and running has paid off.
"This is the week when we can say loudly, clearly, and with confidence: the consumer agency is the law of the land, and it is here to stay," Warren, a Democrat who conceived of the idea for the agency and helped launch it, said in prepared remarks for an event celebrating the bureau's second anniversary.
"To those who said 'There will never be a confirmed director, and the enemies of the agency will do everything possible to kill the agency in its crib,' we said, 'The agency is worth fighting for. We will keep fighting because the American people have had enough of out-of-control financial institutions with no accountability squeezing nickel after nickel from hardworking families who deserve better,' " Warren said. "And now the director has been confirmed."
It was not an easy battle. The nomination of Cordray, who has been leading the agency under a controversial recess appointment, sparked heavy and continued opposition from Senate Republicans who refused to support the nominee without legislative changes to the agency's structure. But the fight ended Tuesday when a broader deal between the parties on presidential appointments resulted in a 66-to-34 vote in favor of his confirmation.
Warren made her remarks at an event that included leaders of Democracy Journal, the publication that initially ran Warren's article calling for creation of a consumer agency. The bureau was ultimately launched as a result of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.
"David beat Goliath," Warren said. "Families beat the big banks. And now we have [a] watchdog in Washington looking out for middle-class families, getting rid of tricks, traps, and fine print, and holding financial institutions accountable when they break the law."
While she called Cordray's confirmation momentous, Warren said the agency's work is not finished.
"This is a monumentally important week for the CFPB one of the most historic in the young agency's history," she said. "But there's still a lot of work to be done, and so long as the CFPB sides with American families over large financial institutions, there will be forces looking to undo its work and to strip away its powers."